Bunbury or Busselton? No contest

Pic: Becky Felstead Cold Chisel band mates Ian Moss and Jimmy Barnes perform together for the last song at Busselton’s Oz Rock last year.

Bunbury should look to hold community and niche events but should not compete with other local governments, Mayor Gary Brennan said.

This comes as Busselton Mayor Ian Stubbs justified promoting his city as the “events capital of regional WA” and claimed the council had picked up events Bunbury had “snubbed” or “had not looked after”.

Mr Stubbs also dismissed suggestions Bunbury could compete with his city, saying the port city lacked the accommodation or volunteers to help make events successful.

But the tide could be starting to turn after the promoter of the successful Oz Rock Busselton concert said he was in discussions with the new Bunbury Coordination Events Group to bring a similar, high-profile event to the city.

Last year, Down and Under Events director Michael Pember first met with the Bunbury City Council to hold the concert before agreeing to hold it at Barnard Park in Busselton. However, Mr Pember said members of the new committee had been “very switched on” and motivated to bring a similar event to Bunbury.

The committee was set-up earlier this month with 13 members including representatives from the council, Bunbury Chamber of Commerce and Industries, and the Bunbury Entertainment Centre.

Mr Brennan said the committee would have a “community” focus and would organise nearly all of the usual council-backed events.

“The whole idea behind having a community-driven events team or group is that we are going to have a better outcome than it simply being done in-house, ” he said.

Mr Stubbs said the Busselton council had been able to increase the number of events held from 50 to 80 in one year.

But he scoffed at suggestions Bunbury could challenge his city.

“We take up events that Bunbury have snubbed, for want of a better word. They have not supported events that we have picked up and (the events) have been very, very successful (for Busselton), ” he said.

But in response, Mr Brennan said his council should not compete with other local governments.

“We need to work in harmony with the City of Busselton as well the local governments surrounding Bunbury, ” Mr Brennan said.

Mr Brennan also dismissed Mr Stubbs’ claim that Bunbury did not have enough accommodation for visitors attending events.